Weekly Address: Time to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance
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Weekly Address: Time to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

The President:
Hi, everybody,
and Happy New Year. This is a time when we look
ahead to all the possibilities and opportunities
of the year to come – when we resolve
to better ourselves, and to better our
relationships with one another. And today,
I want to talk about one place that Washington should start – a place where we can make
a real and powerful difference in the lives of many of our
fellow Americans right now. Just a few days after Christmas,
more than one million of our fellow Americans lost
a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that
helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went
home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire. And for many of their
constituents who are unemployed through no fault of their own, that decision will leave
them with no income at all. We make this promise
to one another because it makes
a difference to a mother who needs help feeding her kids
while she’s looking for work; makes a difference to a father
who needs help paying the rent while learning the skills
to get a new and better job. And denying families that
security is just plain cruel. We’re a better
country than that. We don’t abandon our fellow
Americans when times get tough – we keep the faith with them
until they start that new job. What’s more, it actually slows
down the economy for all of us. If folks can’t
pay their bills or buy the basics,
like food and clothes, local businesses take
a hit and hire fewer workers. That’s why the independent
Congressional Budget Office says that unless Congress
restores this insurance, we’ll feel a drag on our
economic growth this year. And after our businesses created more than two million
new jobs last year, that’s a self-inflicted
wound we don’t need. So when Congress comes
back to work this week, their first order of business
should be making this right. Right now, a bipartisan group
in Congress is working on a three-month extension
of unemployment insurance – and if they pass it,
I will sign it. For decades, Republicans
and Democrats put partisanship and ideology aside to offer
some security for job-seekers, even when the unemployment rate
was lower than it is today. Instead of punishing families
who can least afford it, Republicans should make it
their New Year’s resolution to do the right thing, and restore this vital
economic security for their
constituents right now. After all, our focus
as a country this year shouldn’t be shrinking
our economy, but growing it; not narrowing opportunity,
but expanding it; not fewer jobs,
but doing everything we can to help our businesses create
more of the good jobs that a growing
middle class requires. That’s my
New Year’s resolution – to do everything
I can, every single day, to help make 2014 a year
in which more of our citizens can earn their own piece
of the American Dream. After five years of working
and sacrificing to recover and rebuild from crisis, we have it within
our power, right now, to move this country forward. It’s entirely up to us. And I’m optimistic for
the year that lies ahead. Thanks,
and have a great weekend.

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